Mabhudi Khenyeza is a South African football legend who never rested on his laurels, going about his business with his head high and his appetite for success is still intact even after his playing days. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Mabhudi Khenyeza is a South African football legend who never rested on his laurels, going about his business with his head high and his appetite for success is still intact even after his playing days. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Khenyeza happy to leave his comfort zone and build his legacy

By Minenhle Mkhize Time of article published Apr 18, 2020

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Mabhudi Khenyeza is a South African football legend who never rested on his laurels, going about his business with his head high and his appetite for success is still intact even after his playing days.

Having appeared in the colours of Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns, Ajax Cape Town, Mpumalanga Black Aces, Lamontville Golden Arrows and AmaZulu, the 37-year-old is now the incumbent boss at GladAfrica Championship outfit, TS Galaxy. He controversially resigned as assistant coach at Usuthu in February and then penned a two and half year deal with Galaxy.

“When I do things, I don’t focus on what people will say. I respect AmaZulu, they are a big team. They are professional and very organised and they have a rich history. I was too small for that institution. That’s why I needed to go to a smaller team that will fit my profile as a coach so that I’ll grow with this team. AmaZulu need someone with experience and who has been around for a while. There’s nothing bad that I can say about AmaZulu. They have a right to say whatever they are saying but I’ve got a big fish to catch than focusing on those things,” Khenyeza said about AmaZulu questioning the legality of his resignation.

Khenyeza hung up his boots in 2018 and joined Maritzburg United as the righthand man for then-head coach Muhsin Ertugral but shortly returned to Usuthu to work with Cavin Johnson and Jozef Vukusic.

But he left the Durban club unexpectedly and joined Galaxy. The PSL strugglers have reportedly served their former assistant coach with a letter of demand.

“It is the first time, I’m hearing that (they have served me with a letter of demand). People always resign or leave clubs. Even them as AmaZulu - how many times have they fired coaches? They also have cases of people that they have fired. Recently they put the (head) coach on a special leave. It was easy for them to do that but like I said, I don’t want to dwell too much on that. I respect the club. This is a big team,” Khenyeza explained.

Despite enjoying success in his extraordinary and glittering career, controversy has always followed the striker.

“Negativity and controversy always motivate me to thrive. Such things don’t distract me. How many times have you heard things being said about myself in my career? I don’t go around and seek a platform to clarify myself by words but I answer through my actions. Where would I be if I decided to focus on those things? People will always have things to say about you but that doesn’t mean what they say about you will determine your path. Your drive and desire is what makes you thrive,” he added.

Khenyeza holds the record for the fastest strike in the Soweto Derby after he netted in 18 seconds for Chiefs at Kings Park Stadium in Durban in 2007.

“I want to be the best and most successful coach from KwaZulu-Natal. Staying in KZN and be in a comfort zone won’t elevate me to greater heights. Where I’m heading to is much more important. I’m not afraid because I know that I’m not taking chances. Sometimes the biggest mistake that we make as black people is that we allow our background to determine our fate. We tend to underestimate ourselves. Other nations believe in taking chances,” Khenyeza elaborated.

From from the dusty streets of Howick in the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, the outspoken Khenyeza is one of the elite strikers to reach 100 Premier Soccer League goals. He wants to transfer that success to his coaching journey.

“Galaxy is an ambitious club. The brand is huge and they have already tasted success. There are things that I want to implement in the team but it is difficult now because there’s no time and then this coronavirus. I need a pre-season to really implement my blueprint. I’m happy with my progress. I’ve implemented the mentality to encourage players to fight and be prepared to die (figuratively) on the field of play. I’m happy with the progress but I needed eight to 12 weeks,” Khenyeza explained.

“I know what got me to where I am and what can take me to the next level. I didn’t want to be in a situation where I’m an assistant coach for the rest of my coaching career. I told myself that I’ll be an assistant coach for two years and then thereafter I want to be on my own. I wanted to take responsibility and that’s why I left AmaZulu. I put a lot of effort on making myself better. Sometimes I sleep at 2am doing football research. I hate to fail. I don’t want to be ordinary and average. I want to reach levels where I never thought I’ll be,” Khenyeza articulated.

“My advice to the upcoming coaches is that they mustn’t be afraid to take chances when they come. It is very important to build your own legacy.

"We have a lot of good coaches who are former players that have huge potential but they want to remain under the umbrella of certain coaches. People end up not progressing. Let us also be honest, some old coaches are jealous. They don’t want others to progress. If you want to make it, don’t be afraid to start your own legacy. Let us get out of our comfort zone,” Khenyeza stated.

@minenhlecr7


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